Summer weather, especially in Chicago, can be unpredictable. The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared in a scattered shower or heatwave—especially when it’s time to take wedding photos. Over the past few years as a wedding photographer and videographer, I’ve learned which summer wedding essentials belong in your emergency tote. These items are worth keeping on hand to help make your wedding party photos a little more enjoyable, no matter the weather.
Heads up: some of the links used here are affiliate links! Everything has been tried and tested by past White Quill couples. Using these links won’t cost you a penny more but they will help support me while I give you my best recommendations.
1. Portable Fans
Handheld, battery-operated fans are great for passing around on the trolley, cooling off during photos, or sticking between your legs. Laugh all you want, ladies, but wedding dresses retain a lot of heat down there.
These fans will help keep you lasting longer and feeling better as you go through your wedding photos. If you’ve got the funds, you can even gift these portable fans as wedding party gifts—your bridesmaids and groomsmen will thank you. This one and this one have a stamp of approval from past couples.
2. Clear Umbrellas
It’s always a good idea to have some bubble umbrellas on standby. If it rains, these clear umbrellas will help keep you dry while also creating some great wedding photos. I recommend one per wedding party “couple”. If you’ve got an uneven number on sides, always err for more umbrellas instead of trying to cram 3 people under one.
The best part? If it doesn’t rain, you can just return them. But trust me when I say it’s always better to be prepared and have them on hand. You can also same some $$$ and buy these in bulk if you’ve got a bigger party.
3. Oil Blotters + Pressed Powder
This is one of those wedding essentials that people usually don’t think about, but it can be a lifesaver. If you or any of your bridesmaids tend to get oily, these packs of oil blotting sheets and your favorite pressed powder—like this one—will keep the shine at bay and keep you looking great in photos.
Worried about sweat ruining your makeup? Joanna B Artistry, recommends chatting to your makeup artist if the forecast looks hot and humid. They’ll have some products in their kit, like this skin prep, to keep sweat at bay.
Let’s be honest—sunscreen is the number one summer essential, wedding day or not. The last thing you want is bright red skin in your wedding photos. Prevent this by slathering on the SPF. Be sure to bring along an extra bottle since sunscreen tends to lose its effectiveness after a couple of hours.
It’s best to have the lotion kind vs. a spray. Some sunscreen sprays can cause discoloration on fabrics, so to keep everyone’s dresses + suits pristine, stick to your favorite bottle of lotion. Not sure which bottle to grab from the drugstore? My personal favorite is Neutrogena’s Dry Touch … just make sure to be a pal and help everyone make sure any leftover white streaks are rubbed in.
5. Bug Spray
Bug spray is another essential for summer that often gets overlooked. But if you plan on taking wedding photos in a park or forest preserve, make sure to bring along *plenty* of bug spray. Nothing ruins the mood during wedding party photos faster than a swarm of mosquitos.
Just like with sunscreen, the goal is to keep dresses and suits clean. So opt for wipes instead of a spray so you can control where the bug spray’s applied.
6. Anti-Chafing Power/Gel
Between shoe blisters and thigh burn, chafing can really make a wedding day difficult. A tube of chafing relief gel can help save the day and keep you moving. My personal go-to is Monistat Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel. Trust me when I say it’s worth picking up a tube.
Water is the biggest summer essential for weddings! You always need to make sure you’re drinking water between those White Claws. But it’s even more important to stay hydrated once you throw summer heat into the mix. Keep water on you at all times and just keep drinking (even if it means a few bathroom breaks). I recommend also passing around some value packs of Liquid IV or DripDrop for ultimate hydration.
Summer heat and rain can certainly throw a curveball when it comes to wedding party photos, but it doesn’t have to put a damper on your day!
Want more expert tips?
I’m always happy to share my experience and knowledge with my couples. If you’re still in the market for a wedding photographer or videographer, I’d love to chat about your plans!